As long as there have been people on Earth, so has there been music. Music has always been deeply ingrained in the cultures of people all over the world. If you were to ask people which animal they thought was the most musical, most would probably say birds since they are associated with melodious songs. But do birds enjoy music made by people? This thought may cross your mind as you play music in your home and wonder what your pet budgie thinks of it. Do budgies like music?
Do Budgies Like Music?
Yes, budgies like music. That said, not all budgies enjoy listening to tunes, and some have preferences — just like us. Pet budgies are social little creatures, and rhythmic music can give them a way to bond with their new flock, providing predictable beats that can replace the sounds they might find in nature.
What kind of music do budgies like?
There isn’t one particular type of music that all budgies like, but I recommend staying away from chaotic jazz, death metal, or music that is too loud, chaotic, and doesn’t follow a particular pattern. That’s because your feathered friend might have a hard time following a rhythmic beat in those types of music, and it might cause them stress. Most birds are also sensitive to loud sounds, so keeping the volume down is preferable.
That said, play different genres of music for your budgies, including classical, R&B, and pop music, and watch their response. They might start bobbing their head, singing along, or giving other body cues telling you they’re enjoying the sound. Offering a variety of different musical sounds they like can bring them a lot of joy, filling the silent air with soothing tunes.
Should I leave music on for my budgie?
That depends on your budgie, but constant sound can stress out your pet bird. Just like you and I, your feathered friend needs some quiet time. While there’s nothing wrong with leaving the music on sometimes, it’s probably not a good idea to leave it on all the time.
Again, read your budgie’s social cues. Supplying them with an audible diet of music can be enjoyable and stimulating, as long as you balance that sound out with time when they can relax in peace.
How do I tell if my budgie likes music?
Professor of Psychology at Cornell University Timothy DeVoogd studied bird and human brains and their responses to music. Although he didn’t use budgies in particular, DeVoogd’s research led him to believe that human music sounds “songlike” to birds in a similar way that bird songs sound musical to humans. How do you tell if humans like music? Use that same logic for your budgie.
That said, you can tell if your pet likes music by keeping a close eye on their behaviors while the music is playing. Your avian pet might start dancing by bobbing their head and moving their body from side to side. Budgies might even flap their wings if they’re really into the music. On the other hand, soothing music might put your feathered friend to sleep, indicating they find the rhythm comforting.
However, If your budgie cowers away from the source of the noise, slicks its feathers back, continuously flaps, or screeches, turn off the tunes. Those are telltale signs your budgie doesn’t like that particular genre of music or maybe the volume of the sound. Give them a break, and maybe try something different at another volume at another time.
Can music help calm my budgie down?
Yes, music can help calm your budgie down. As mentioned, some music can lull them to sleep. If your budgie is anxious or restless, try playing music with easy and predictable rhythms that won’t give your budgies any surprises. Make sure the sound is at a lower volume and watch their body cues to ensure the music calms your avian friend and does not have the opposite effect. Remember, budgies and birds, in general, are sensitive to stimulation, so it’s important to get to know your little birds and adjust the sounds around them accordingly.
Like humans, music can also comfort your budgie during stressful events, like a move from one house to another or a particularly rough thunderstorm. Chances are if a particular song brings you comfort, it will do the same for your pet.
What else makes a budgie happy?
Budgies are social birds with a gentle and affectionate disposition. In addition to supplying music they like, another thing that can make a budgie happy is you. After all, you and your family are now their flock, so it’s important to spend lots of time interacting with your bird, including talking, singing, holding, and playing with them.
Supply your budgie with lots of pet-safe toys they can chew, climb on, use for foraging, and play with, in addition to plenty of time outside their cage. Creating a stress-free environment with plenty of stimulation, as well as quiet time, is key to a happy budgie.
Most budgies enjoy music the same way humans do, but determining what kind of tunes your feathered friend likes might be a case of trial and error. Start by playing them soft, rhythmic music and see how they react. If it lulls them to sleep, they happily chirp or start dancing, you have a hit! Be sure to balance out musical stimulation with quiet time and listen to social cues telling you they’ve had enough for the day. As long as you follow your budgie’s lead on what they like and need regarding music and everything else in their life, you’re sure to have a happy bird enjoying their flock.
“Comparison of Preferences for Repetition or Meter in Humans and Budgies”, Jan Kopac, Center for Cognative Science, https://cogsci.fmph.uniba.sk/.
“Do Birds Listen When You Play Music?”, C. Claiborne Ray, New York Times, June 2017, nytimes.com.
“Budgies – General,” Gregory Rich and Laurie Hess, VCA Animal Hospitals, vcahospitals.com
Kim is an avid bird watcher and owner in South Carolina. She loves identifying, studying, and feeding her feathered friends in their natural habitats. She also has first-hand experience as the owner of several species of exotic birds.